B’Har(On the Mountain)Vayikra/Leviticus 25:1-26:2
Haftorah Reading: Jeremiah 32:6-27
Tonight I want to begin our time together by looking at a set of holidays that we seldom take time to study indepth. These include Shabbat, the Shmitah year and Jubilee year. What do these three teach us and why are they important to remember?
Today we study what may be the most important Torah portion of the year. In the very first verse we read where G-d told Moshe to, “Come” to Pharaoh. Here Moshe was to relate to Pharaoh G-d’s final three plagues, locust, darkness and death of the first born. Sh’mot 10:1 reads, “And the L-rd said to Moshe, Come to Pharaoh.” In all other times G-d told Moshe to go to Pharaoh. Why was the word “come” used here? I believe this gives all of us an important clues to the character of the Father. G-d was telling Moshe that no matter what we face G-d will be with us. He will already be there before us. Our faith should be strengthened by the use of this small word in this verse.
Torah Portions: Vayak’hel (He Assembled) Sh’mot/Ex. 35:1-38:20
P’Kudei (Accounts) Sh’mot/Ex 38:21-40:38
Haftorah Readings: I Kings 7:13-26; 7:40-8:21
Our teaching today covers the last two Torah portions of Exodus. The name of the first portion is Vayak’hel which means, gathering of people of like mind. It is the modern word, Kehila or congregation. It is the word we use for Road to Zion.
The second portion is Pekudei and means something like giving an account or counting. Today it is the source of the modern Hebrew word pakeed or clerk. You can add these words to your Hebrew vocabulary.
Torah Portion: Behar (On the Mountain) Leviticus 25:1-26:2
HafTorah: Jeremiah 32:6-27
Let us start with a question. What do the concepts of Shabbat, Shmitah and Jubilee have in common? What do they teach us spiritually? Two of the three have the same root in Hebrew. Shabbat and Sabbatical or Shmitah come from the word to rest. The Shabbat comes once each week and the other once every seventh year. Even Jubilee teaches us the same principle. G-d is our provider. All things belong to Him. He expects us to live in a way that reflects Him in society. We tend to compartmentalize life and in doing that relegate G-d to certain places and time. We may only relate to Him in this meeting or one like it. Some of us may allow Him into our personal lives. We don’t hurt people, we try to live upright lives but fewer are those who let Him into our business or pocketbooks. We may say, “I’ll pray, I’ll study scripture but really business is business. I can’t take off a day or a week much less a year. I can’t tithe. That’s a lot of money. What would I do without it? Everybody cheats a little especially with Uncle Sam. I need it more than they do.”